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Remdesivir Offers Hope For Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Anti-viral drug and convalescent plasma administered to Methodist patients

Dallas---Methodist Health System is at the forefront of studying Remdesivir – an anti-viral drug that could become the “standard of care” for reducing the recovery time and severity of COVID-19 for countless patients.

In a medical trial that includes patients at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, two-thirds of the hospitalized patients in Dallas who received Remdesivir had good results – and sometimes striking improvement.

“We have seen some extremely encouraging results where people on the verge of death were able to leave the hospital on their feet,” says Parvez Mantry, MD, AGAF, FAASLD, CPE, executive medical director of the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute.

Although Remdesivir has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, hospitals across the country have been given the green light to use it when nothing else seems to work.

“Drug development is usually a long and tedious process,” says Crystee Cooper, DHEd, director of clinical research for Methodist Health System. “In this instance, the FDA and other regulatory bodies have expedited the approval process for testing and use of investigational therapies. We’ve witnessed unprecedented flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Like other anti-virals (think Tamiflu), the sooner patients get Remdesivir the better, Dr. Mantry says, because it works by stopping viral replication in its tracks. The drug interferes with an important enzyme the coronavirus needs to multiply and invade more cells in the body.

“Patients who are able to receive this drug before they get extremely ill respond the best,” Dr. Mantry says. “We remain hopeful.”

Remdesivir isn’t the only experimental treatment that’s shown promise for COVID-19 patients at Methodist hospitals. In another trial, it’s not a cutting-edge drug but a century-old therapy that has proved effective time and again.

Convalescent plasma, first pioneered in the late 1800s, has been used to combat every plague from diphtheria to Ebola. Now it’s made another comeback.

“Convalescent plasma has never really stuck,” says Karen Roush, MD, vice chair of pathology for Methodist Health System. “It’s always been pushed to the wayside for vaccines or other effective therapies.”

But with a vaccine still months away and anti-virals like Remdesivir still early in the research phase, the age-old method of treating the sickest patients with the antibodies of a recovered patient, or convalescent, is new again.

“Some of these patients may end up having convalescent plasma as a last resort if they failed the drug trial,” Dr. Roush says.

Convalescent plasmatherapy depends on the supply of antibody-rich plasma, the liquid part of blood. And early on, there weren’t nearly enough immune blood donors to meet the demand.

That’s beginning to change as more generous donors reach out to give back to the hospitals that treated them.

All four Methodist Health System Hospitals are now treating COVID-19 infected patients with convalescent plasma transfusions. And while it’s still early, Dr. Roush says, “There have been some successes.”

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to consider donating plasma. Visit Carter BloodCare to request eligibility. We ask donors to put “directed donation for Methodist Health System” in the comment section of the form to ensure plasma helps patients at our hospitals.

About Methodist Health System
Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Dallas-based Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated healthcare to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas. Ten hospitals proudly carry the Methodist Health System brand, as owners or through affiliation. More than two dozen Methodist Family Health Centers and Medical Groups are among the facilities served by the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System.